Common Name: Porcelain Berry, Porcelain Ampelopsis, Porcelain-vine, Amur Peppervine, Wild Grape
Latin Name: Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (Maxim.) Trautv.
(synonyms: Ampelopsis glandulosa & var. brevipedunculata, var. glandulosa, and var. heterophylla, Ampelopsis sinica, and Vitis heterophylla)
Reviewer: James Calkins
Affiliation/Organization: Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
File #: MDARA00038POBE_7_21_2014
Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) is a vigorous, deciduous, woody vine in the grape family (Vitaceae). Plants have variable, occasionally simple, cordate (heart-shaped), but most often maple/grape-like, 3- to 5-lobed, alternately arranged, toothed leaves (shiny on undersides with minute hairs along the veins). Plants have a fairly loose, rambling habit, are relatively fast growing, and climb by branched tendrils (modified leaves) attached opposite the leaves; plants can reach a height of 10-25 feet or more. Native to temperate Asia (China, Korea, Japan, and eastern Russia), porcelain berry was introduced as a landscape plant in 1870 and has since escaped cultivation and become naturalized in parts of the eastern United States. The flowers are perfect and borne in loose cymes from July until frost (September) in Minnesota and are greenish in color and small and insignificant; plants flower on new growth and are insect pollinated. The fruit is a shiny, 1- to 4-seeded berry that matures in September and October in Minnesota. As they mature, the fruits in a single cluster may be variously pale green to creamy yellow, lilac-pink, lavender, sky blue, purple and indigo-blue; mature fruits are various shades of blue and purple. The distinctively-colored fruits develop a speckled to mottled pattern that resembles the crackled appearance of porcelain which gives rise to the common name porcelain berry. Plants prefer and perform best in full sun, but tolerate partial shade; flowering and fruiting are best in full sun. Plants are intolerant of dense shade. Planted for its vining habit, attractive foliage, and its uniquely-colored, attractive fruit (the unique colors of the fruit result from a co-pigmentation effect), porcelain berry is occasionally, but not widely, planted in Minnesota. The fruits of porcelain berry are eaten and dispersed by birds and various small mammals (and perhaps white-tailed deer; Odocoileus virginianus). Plants are adaptable and will grow on most soils except those that are poorly drained or permanently wet. Plants prefer moist, well drained soils, but are fairly tolerant of dry soils once established; plants are also tolerant of urban stresses including heat, drought, and compacted and infertile soils. Cold hardy to USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 4/5, (-20 to -30ºF; -29 to -34ºC/-10 to -20ºF; -23 to -29ºC), winter injury is fairly common in Minnesota and remedial pruning to remove dead wood is often required; plants are, however, typically root-hardy and plants killed to the ground during the winter will usually recover. Varieties and cultivars include var. maximowiczii (syn. A. heterophylla; sinuses of the 3- to 5-lobed leaves cut more deeply than the species and the form most often found in cultivation) and ‘Elegans’ (a cultivar of the variety maximowiczii having smaller leaves and greenish-white and pink variegated foliage that becomes exclusively green and white with age; less vigorous and less hardy than the species). Porcelain berry is a favorite of Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) and the damage can be severe with the foliage being completely skeletonized very quickly when Japanese beetles are present. Porcelain berry is commercially propagated from softwood cuttings and cleaned, stratified seed; plants can also be propagated by layering and perhaps by root pieces (root cuttings). Related species include Ampelopsis aconitifolia (monks hood vine; native to Mongolia and northern China; orange, yellow, and sometimes bluish fruit; Zone 5), A. arborea (pepper vine/peppervine; native to the southeastern United States – Maryland to Missouri and south to Mexico and Florida; dark purple fruit; Zone 7), A. cordata (heart-leaf peppervine, heart-leaf ampelopsis, raccoon grape, possum grape, simple-leaf ampelopsis; native to the southeastern United States; pinkish-purple to lavender-blue fruit; Zone 5), A. humulifolia (hops ampelopsis; native to northern China; pale yellow to bluish fruit; Zone 6), and A. megalophylla (native to western China; black fruit; Zone 5); all five are less cold hardy than A. brevipedunculata and none of them perform well in zones warmer than Zone 8. In Minnesota, depending on the foliage characteristics of specific plants, porcelain berry could be confused with our native riverbank grape (Vitis riparia); the pith of porcelain berry is white and continuous across the nodes and the bark bears obvious lenticels and does not peel, while riverbank grape has a brown pith that is interrupted at the nodes and exfoliating (peeling) bark without distinct lenticels; also, unlike porcelain berry, the tendrils of riverbank grape are not branched and the flowers (and fruits) are borne in elongated panicles.
Review Entity – Outcome